Florian Tardif’s editorial: “The candidates facing the people”

In his editorial of this Wednesday, October 27, Florian Tardif looks at the battle being played out between the presidential candidates to embody the voice of the people.

The presidential election is the meeting of a woman or a man and a people. The people, from the Latin “populus” which designates all citizens, that is to say individuals with the right to vote.

Today, in a context of citizens’ mistrust of institutions – mistrust which has recently been illustrated in the yellow vests movement – many presidential candidates repeat that they embody the voice of the people .

The Constitution provides that “sovereignty” belongs to the people who exercise it through their representatives and through referendums. It establishes the principle of the Republic as being “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. However, there is a dichotomy between what is written in the Constitution and what is perceived by French citizens. I will not go back to the yellow vests crisis, which I mentioned a moment ago.

But this dichotomy is certainly explained by the fact that we are a representative democracy. Citizens delegate power to a number of representatives who debate important issues and decide on a number of measures for the life of society.

The direct expression of the people, to which I referred earlier: the referendum, remains something exceptional. For several years, therefore, we have witnessed a rise in citizens’ mistrust of institutions, because they feel badly or no longer feel represented.

How do the candidates show that they embody the voice of the people?

Compared to what I just said previously, they fuel a discourse that can be defined as “populist”. This term is familiar to you, I know. And despite, what we can sometimes hear here and there, “populism” is not the prerogative of the extreme right. Marine Le Pen, like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, fuel a populist discourse. However, in the first case, the candidate, in this case the candidate, maintains an identity discourse and rejects what would go against the sovereignty of the people. The other manifests itself through a Marxist version of society with worker emancipation.

Except that populism is a form of degagism that spares no one, including populist leaders. This is currently observed with the rise of Eric Zemmour in the polls at the expense of Marine Le Pen. The putative candidate embodies a form of rupture. It is the result of a rejection of the current political offer by part of the population. Population whose voice he wishes to embody.

The people’s voice ! Vox populi! “Vox populi”, which had been proposed by his entourage as a party name.

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